Become a High School Graduate in Missouri: Diploma Information

Missouri has legally established the rights of local boards of education to create adult high school diploma programs throughout the state. Under the direction of the Missouri Revised Statutes granting this right, local boards of education may allow adults who have not previously earned a high school diploma to earn a local district high school diploma.

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Diploma Information for Adult High School Students in Missouri

Adult high school diploma programs are established by each school district in the state to allow adults to graduate from high school by meeting the high school graduation requirements of that district. Graduation requirements vary because the programs are handled on a district level rather than at a state level.

In all programs, a student's previous high school work and credits will be evaluated. Previous work will also be used to determine the weak areas in student's skills and abilities, which enables them to be placed in the proper courses within the adult high school diploma program.

Entrance Requirements

Adult high school diploma programs may be online or classroom based. Students may be able to work classes around their personal schedule, or classes may be held in the evening hours to accommodate those who work during the day.

According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, students must be at least 18 years old to enroll in an adult high school program (dese.mo.gov). Some programs may charge a fee for courses or books.

Earning Credits

Courses in an adult program may be more flexible than those offered in a traditional high school. As long as courses meet the educational needs of students, they are considered appropriate for an adult high school program. Credits may be granted if students show the same level of competency that would be expected of current high school students. Subjects covered in adult high school coursework may include language arts, math, social studies, fine arts, physical education, health, practical arts, finance and personal development.

Any previously earned credits from grade nine and above may be applied towards meeting the credit requirements for an adult high school diploma. Students also test for credit in areas where they show excellent competency or skills. Any apprenticeship program work may be used for elective credits, but only up to six credits. Work study programs can help a student earn up to six elective credits as well.


Most schools have a minimum number of credits that must be earned at the school, not earned through previous experience, in order to graduate from a program. The state sets a minimum of two credits, but school districts may have a higher minimum number. Graduation requirements for credits and coursework are the same as those for local high school students. Students are issued an adult high school diploma upon graduation.

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